The Air Force is no longer using any kind of force-sizing metric as it has throughout its history, says Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. At one time, service officials counted the inventory in terms of tactical fighter wings, and later, combat wings. No more. “We will measure fleet sizes by the number of platforms, rather than the . . . tac fighter wings that we used at one time,” Schwartz told the Daily Report during an interview in his Pentagon office. That means about 2,000 “high-performance aircraft,” or fighters, and “about 300 big airplanes, and so on,” he explained. The numbers are expressed in ways that “satisfy the accepted [Office of the Secretary of Defense] scenarios,” Schwartz said. He added, “I’ve been on the record saying I wish we did have a more explicit force-sizing construct.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.